"He's our champ, he's our guy, and he needs time," UFC President Dana White on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "But we're getting to the point now where we really need to make a decision.
"We've seen in the past, you can't sit around and wait for guys to come back or you will make no money and you'll be out too long, yourself," White said of the interim champ. "So he's got to get out there and stay active. Every time this kid fights and wins, it benefits him financially and physically. You have to stay active as a fighter."
For now, Renan Barao is the UFC's interim bantamweight champ. However, the time may be coming soon for the UFC to change Barao's status to official bantamweight champion of the world.
"Everybody wants a timeline as much as I do," White said of Cruz's return. "I would like to say, 'In six months, starting today, I will be back.' I can't do that. It's up to my doctors. It's up to my physical therapists."
In all likelihood, Cruz will ultimately have his belt stripped, but it will be done in a classy manner. Many expect Cruz will officially "vacate" the belt, and then be granted an immediate title shot upon his return to the cage.
"This is stuff that needs to be talked about with him, and even if I had a decision about him, I wouldn't say it here," White said of Cruz. "He deserves the respect to come out to Vegas and sit down and talk about it."
No word yet on when Barao or Cruz return to action.